• Premier League

Defoe's Tottenham career comes to an end

ESPN staff
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Tim Sherwood praised Jermain Defoe as one of Tottenham's greatest strikers © Getty Images
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Jermain Defoe has played his last game for Tottenham Hotspur after he was ruled out of Thursday's Europa League clash against Dnipro with a hamstring injury.

Defoe, 31, will officially complete a move to Toronto FC on Friday for a fee believed to be in the region of £5 million. The deal was agreed on January 10 but the striker remained with Spurs until the end of February before heading to Canada ahead of the start of the new MLS season.

He has only made two brief appearances since the transfer was officially announced. He scored after coming off the bench in a 2-0 win at home to Crystal Palace before making a five minute cameo at the end of the 1-0 home win over Everton on February 9 when he was giving a rousing send off by the White Hart Lane crowd.

Manager Tim Sherwood told a press conference ahead of the Dnipro clash: "Unfortunately he's not fit. He'll be at the game to say his goodbyes at half-time, hopefully."

When asked where he would rank Defoe among Tottenham strikers, Sherwood said: "He is possibly number one, obviously you would argue that there's Jimmy Greaves, but Jermain Defoe is possibly one of the best goalscorers this club's ever seen. Let's hope we can find another one like Jermain Defoe because he's all about goals.

"Whenever he pulled on the Tottenham shirt, he always played with his heart and spirit for the club and gave everything, and everyone appreciates his efforts here. He certainly will be a legend at the club."

Defoe scored 143 goals in nine years with Spurs across two spells. As part of the deal, Spurs will play a friendly against Toronto on July 23 as part of their pre-season tour, while they have agreed an advertising and marketing rights deal with TFC owners Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE). Toronto begin their campaign away at Seattle Sounders on March 15.

Meanwhile, Sherwood confirmed troubled striker Roberto Soldado will start against the Ukranian outfit as Spurs look to overturn a one-goal deficit from the first leg.

Soldado has not scored since the 3-0 win over Stoke on December 29, which is his only goal since netting a hat-trick against Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League on December 12.

"Robbie knows that his time's come, and hopefully that is tomorrow" Sherwood said. "He'll be playing tomorrow and hopefully we can see him hitting the back of the net. We know what he can do. He's a top player, otherwise he wouldn't be at the club. It's just now the time for one to ricochet off his backside and go in.

"The confidence comes flooding back and then he can go on a run, which [Emmanuel] Adebayor's had since I've come in. It would be handy if the two of them are scoring."

Sandro, who has been out for over two months, is likely to feature against Dnipro, but Sherwood is wary of expecting too much too soon.

"We've been very careful with Sandro because he's been out for long periods and, previously, when he's been put back in too early he's had a little niggle and he's had to miss a few weeks," Sherwood said. "He's done more training than he's ever done before so we've strengthened the injury and we're hoping that he's ready to go.

"It's good to have Sandro back in the squad. He's a great character around the dressing-room and he gives everything on the pitch and leaves nothing on the field. You know for sure he's going to give you 100%."

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